Senior Lecturer in Sociology
& Programme Director for Sociology (BA)
Room 2.011, 6 College Park
Tel. +44 (0) 28 9097 3189
BA Hons (University of Ulster, Magee College)
PhD (University College Dublin)
PGCHET (Queen's University Belfast)
My primary research interests lie in the political sociology of the island of Ireland, specifically relating to conflict transformation, nationalism, and European integration. From this starting point, I have explored related themes in contemporary society in Ireland and Northern Ireland, discourses of identity and conflict/peace, and cross-border cooperation in a comparative setting.
I am currently a research partner in the ESRC/AHRC funded project 'TRUST' (Tracing Risk and Uncertainty in Security Technology), led by Dr Michael Bourne (QUB), as part of the RCUK Global Uncertainties programme in Science and Technology development. The project aims to map and analyse, from a social science perspective, how new security technologies are developed in practice.
I was recently a research partner in the ESRC-funded project (2007-2012) Conflict in Cities and the Contested State, in the module 'From Conflict Management to Conflict Resolution' led by Prof. James Anderson and Prof. Liam O'Dowd. This involved detailed research, in partnership with Dr Milena Komarova, on contested and shared urban space in Belfast.
Outside the university, I am Board Member of the Centre for Cross Border Studies and also on the Board of Directors of Charter for Northern Ireland. In academia, I was the founding convenor of the European Studies Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland and former national president (Ireland) of the European Community Studies Association.
Within Queen’s, I am a board member of the Centre for International Borders Research and am co-convenor (with Dr Dominic Bryan, Institute of Irish Studies) of the Interdisciplinary Research Group 'Social Justice and the Divided City' in the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice.
Previous research fellowships I held included positions in the Institute of Irish Studies (QUB), the Institute of British-Irish Studies, UCD (IRCHSS Government of Ireland Fellowship), the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy in QUB (for the FP5 EUBorderConf project) and the Dublin European Institute (UCD). I have held visiting fellowships at the University of Aberystwyth and NUI Galway.
Teaching: modules convened
'Conflict and Change in Northern Ireland: Sociological Perspectives' (MA)
Plus: occasional lectures on multiculturalism, nationalism, citizenship, globalisation, Irish political sociology and European integration
Supervision: Recent/Current PhD research supervision includes:
Nationalism, Territory and Organized Violence. (Joint contributing editor with Niall Ó Dochartaigh) Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 19 (1), Jan-March 2013.
This special issue of Nationalism and Ethnic Politics seeks to break new ground in our understanding of the relationship between nationalist ideology and organized violence by scrutinising the dynamics of solidarity and territoriality which lie at the heart of the mobilising power of both. Interlinked papers drawing on a range of detailed case studies, address the dynamics of nationalist violence, the role of nationalism in wartime solidarity, the relationship between state and counter-state nationalism, the role of territoriality in nationalist violence and the tensions and paradoxes of the relationship between state nationalism and popular nationalism.
Irish Nationalism and European Integration: The official redefinition of the island of Ireland. Manchester: Manchester University Press, March 2009.
How has it been possible for Irish political leaders to not just accept but actively promote two of the largest challenges to Irish nation-statehood: the concession of sovereignty to the European Union and the retraction of the constitutional claim over Northern Ireland? This book argues that, rather than indicating a pragmatic retreat, such decisions reveal the unique power and enduring relevance of nationalism to Irish and European politics.
Political Discourse and Conflict Resolution: Debating peace in Northern Ireland. Joint contributing editor with Catherine O'Donnell). London: Routledge, September 2010. (Paperback 2012)
Bringing together leading experts on Northern Ireland’s peace process from a range of academic disciplines, including political science, sociology, linguistics, history, geography, law, and peace studies, this book offers new insights into the discursive dynamics of violent political conflict and its resolution.
The Europeanization of Party Politics in Ireland, North and South. (Joint contributing editor with Mary C. Murphy). London: Taylor and Francis, April 2010.
While Europeanization is evident in all parties in Ireland, its influence has been strictly curtailed. We argue that the effects of Europeanization in Irish party politics have been limited by enduring resistance to – and conditions placed upon – EU influence in particular policy areas, the importance of pragmatism and (sub-)national priorities in shaping parties’ approaches to European integration and the fact that engagement with the EU continues to be a predominantly elite-led process.
Recycling the State: The politics of adaptation in contemporary Ireland. (Joint contributing editor with Muiris MacCárthaigh). Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2007.
Recent change in the Irish state is best understood as part of a continual process of adaptation. There are three key dimensions to this 'recycling': definition of the state, representation by the state, and participation in the state. The authors explore these dimensions in relation to selected critical issues in contemporary Ireland including minority rights, voter apathy, the Irish diaspora, cross-border relations, and democratic accountability.
Other selected publications (2008-2013)
Conflict and Peace
Political Discourse as an Instrument of Conflict and Peace: Lessons from Northern Ireland. (Joint contributing editor with Catherine O’Donnell). Special issue of Peace & Conflict Studies, Journal of the Network of Peace & Conflict Studies, Vol. 15 (1), September 2008.
'Nationalism, Territory, and Organized Violence', (joint author with Niall Ó Dochartaigh), Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Vol.19 (1), 2013, 1-11.
'Negative Silence: The unspoken future of Northern Ireland', Nordic Irish Studies Journal, Vol. 11 (2), 2012: 21-38.
'The Agreement Generation: Young people's views on the cross-border relationship', (joint author with Aoibhín de Búrca), The Journal of Cross Border Studies in Ireland, No.7, 2012: 23-36.
'Building peace and crossing borders: The north/south dimension of reconciliation', (joint author with Cathal McCall and Ivo Damkat), Building Peace in Northern Ireland (Ed. Maria Power). Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011:191-208.
'Convergence/Divergence: Party political discourse in Northern Ireland's transition from conflict', Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, Vol. 4 (3), 2011: 196-213.
'The EU and the transformation of the Irish border', Accord: An International Review of Peace Initiatives, Vol. 22, 2011: 31-34.
‘Northern Ireland: Inter-Ethnic Dialogue’, in Nigel Young (Editor-in-Chief) The International Encyclopedia of Peace. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
‘Northern Ireland: Polarisation under the media spotlight’, in C. Peralez (ed.) Media and Nationalism. Vic: Facultat d’Empresa i Comunicació, Universitat de Vic., 2009: 96-113.
‘Reconfiguring Spaces of Conflict: Northern Ireland and the impact of European integration’, (joint author with Thomas Diez), Space and Polity, special issue on ‘Citizens and Borderwork in contemporary Europe’ (Ed. Chris Rumford), Vol. 12 (1), 2008: 47-62.
‘The Influence of the EU towards Conflict Transformation on the Island of Ireland’, (with Antje Wiener) in Thomas Diez, Stephan Stetter and Matthias Albert (eds) European Integration and Border Conflict Transformation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008: 33-63.
Ireland and Europe
The Europeanization of Party Politics in Ireland, North and South. (Joint contributing editor with Mary C. Murphy). Special issue of Irish Political Studies, Vol.24 (4), December 2009.
‘The (Soft) Power of Commitment: The EU and Conflict Resolution in Northern Ireland’ (joint author with Mary C. Murphy), Ethnopolitics, Vol.11 (4), December 2012.
'The European Union: National and supranational dimensions to foreign policy', in B. Tonra, M. Kennedy, J. Doyle and N. Dorr (eds) Irish Foreign Policy. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 2012: Chapter 9.
'L'européanisation conditionnelle de l´Irlande: le rôle de Fianna Fáil', (joint author with Jonathan Fallon) in M. Petithomme (ed.) L'Européanisation de la compétition politique nationale. Grenoble: Presses universitaires de Grenoble, 2011: 147-161.
'European Stories as National Narratives: Irish intellectuals on Europe', in J. Lacroix and K. Nicolaidis (eds) European Stories: Intellectual debates on Europe in National contexts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010: 167-182.
‘From Visionary to Functionary: Representations of Irish intellectuals in the debate on “Europe”’, in Etudes Irlandaises, Vol. 34 (2), 2010: 87-100.
‘‘For mutual benefit’: Irish official discourse on Europeanisation and Hibernicisation’, in European Studies: A Journal of European Culture, History and Politics, special issue edited by Cathal McCall and Tom M. Wilson, Vol. 28, 2010: 95-118.
‘Divide to multiply: Irish regionalism and the European Union’, in R. Wyn Jones and R. Scully (eds) Europe, Regions, and European Regionalism. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2010: 90-114.
Book Reviews (2012/13)
'Ireland after Rapid Immigration: The consequences of neglect'. Review Essay of D. Devine (2011) Immigration and Schooling in the Republic of Ireland (Manchester University Press [MUP]), B. Fanning (2011) Immigration and Social Cohesion in the Republic of Ireland (MUP), and S. Loyal (2011) Understanding Immigration in Ireland: State, capital and labour in a global age (MUP) in Contemporary Sociology.
Review of L. Smithey (2011) Unionists, Loyalists and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland (Oxford University Press) in Contemporary Sociology.
Review of B. Fanning and R. Munck (eds) (2011) Globalization, Migration and Social Transformation. Ireland in Europe and the World (Ashgate) in Ethnic and Racial Studies.
Review of M. Gallagher and M. Marsh (eds) (2011) How Ireland voted 2011. The Full Story of Ireland’s Earthquake Election (Palgrave Macmillan) in Party Politics.